Caning fellow legislators on the House floor, declaring secession from the Union, and filibustering civil rights debates. These are the indelible marks that South Carolina has left on the national political landscape. Add an unscrupulous governor with a penchant for jet setting to see his South American soulmate and a trail of suspect travel records and you’ve got yourself the sleeper smash of the summer movie season.
The indie hit of the year, 500 Days of Summer won over the hearts of Sundance crowd and has done equally well with mainstream audiences. Ironically enough, Governor Sanford has roughly 500 days left in his mired term. Democratic candidate for governor, Dwight Drake, has seized upon this coincidence with a faux trailer.
The expected green rating screen pops up but with an unexpected ruling. The trailer is rated “R for RONG” with the guidelines for viewing being that the “GOVERNOR REQUIRES ACCOMPANYING PARENT OR GUARDIAN.”
The next shot is a couple holding hands frolicking through the wheat grass at a serene beach. Suddenly a smirking Sanford is shown with the Statehouse in the background, and now it becomes apparent that this is not a love story at all.
A montage of the sad saga of the Governor’s last few months begin to fill up the screen. The hopeless images of factory closings, unemployment lines, and failed schools pile on top of each other, leaving you with a feeling of malaise and morose. The narrator, with a convincing Morgan Freeman bellow, follows with “500 days left … of more layoffs, of no new jobs, of less education funding.”
Of course no sophisticated political ad is complete without a Daily Show highlight of the governor masterfully photo-shopped in the nude, hiking. The video finishes with Drake standing up in an empty theater, shaking his head, and exiting quickly.
The candidate is attempting to get the governor ousted by getting citizens to sign an online petition at 500DaysofSanford.com. The obscure Article IV, Section 12 of the State Constitution allows for the state’s four non-gubernatorial officers to declare the governor “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
“Enough is enough, and I am calling on our state’s leaders to do everything in their power to bring this sorry drama to an end,” declared Drake.
Other Democratic candidates for governor have also called for Sanford’s exit. State Senator Vincent Sheheen has been heading an ongoing investigation looking into the governor’s personal trips in the taxpayer-furnished governor’s jet. Another Democratic candidate, Charleston lawyer Mullins McLeod, has also launched an online petition demanding the governor’s resignation for his “serious crime”.